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Wednesday, November 17, 1999 Published at 16:29 GMT

UK: Wales

Union "positive" after Bairdwear meeting

Baird Clothing was one of Marks and Spencer's main suppliers.

Officials of the GMB trade union have had a "positive" meeting with management of the closure-threatened Bairdwear factories in Wales.

Spokeswoman Tina Williams said the union has urged the company to try everything possible to secure new work for the factories following the cancellation of a major contract from Marks and Spencer.

BBC Wales' Miles Fletcher: "The loss of the contract has dealt a crippling blow to Bairdwear"
The jobs of 1,200 workers are at risk but the union is not giving up hope that many can be saved.

Two factories - at Maesteg and Pontardawe - were already under threat of closure before Marks and Spencer's shock decision.

The future of others at Port Talbot, New Tredegar, Merthyr, Bargoed, Port Talbot, Pyle, and Neath now also hangs in the balance.

The loss of lingerie-making business worth more than £200m a year from the store chain has dealt a potentially crippling blow to Bairdwear.

[ image: Over 1,000 jobs are under threat]
Over 1,000 jobs are under threat
The six Welsh sites - together with two in the west of England - represent the bulk of William Baird's UK operations.

The talks were held at the regional headquarters of the GMB at Newport Road, Cardiff.

The union is also mounting a campaign to persuade Marks and Spencer to keep buying British.

They are asking consumers to check labels before buying goods in their stores and have commissioned an opinion poll showing public support for their cause.

If Marks and Spencer does not have a change of heart, the factories will start closing early next year.

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